How we assess your performance

What we compare against 

The level of the specialty-specific papers is set so that a doctor with at least six months' experience in the specialty would be expected to meet the required standard. Your performance is compared against:

  • a standard set mark
  • the results achieved by a reference group. 

The standard set mark is calculated using the modified Angoff method. A panel of eight to ten doctors decide what percentage of 'just passing' doctors would answer each question correctly.

The average estimate for each question is then calculated and averaged for all the questions in the assessment. The level of doctor used in this process is first day at foundation year two.

A reference group is a group of UK doctors representing all clinical grades, recruited by open advertisement. They must have done four months in the specialty last year to take part in pilot tests.

Example of a doctor’s performance

This is an example of a doctor's performance in a GP assessment.

  • The dashed line is the doctor's result – 80%
  • The score of the reference group (made up of GPs in this example) is shown by the curved line
  • The solid line is the 'standard set mark'. The standard set mark is 63.94%.
A table illustrating how performance is assessed
Example of a doctor's performance in a GP assessment

Sample questions

While we don’t publish previous assessments, these sample questions give an example of the format and level of questions for each of the assessments.